The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


    WILLIAM H. MERRIMAN: died in Jackson County, September 16, 1877; was a cabinet maker and joiner; was born in Kentucky; came to state in 1852 and to county in 1856; was married February 10, 1853, to Mrs. A. Chapman.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 505

    MRS. ARTINECIA MERRIMAN: lives near Central Point; is a farmer; post office Jacksonville; was born in Champagne County, Ohio in 1830; came to state 1851, and to county in 1856; Artinecia (Riddle) Merriman was married February 22, 1848, to James Chapman, deceased. Children John W., Lucinda J., George F., Laura A., Maria E., Annie A., Isaac A., Mary B., Isabel, Effie, Josephine and Willie. Mr. Merriman had one
daughter, Auletta L.; Mrs. Merriman has buried four children, Chas. H., Walter, Prudence and Winaford.

A. G. Walling, History of Southern Oregon, 1884, page 505

    MERRIMAN, GEORGE F., of Medford, was born in Douglas County, Oregon, September 16, 1853. He is a blacksmith by occupation, having pursued it for twelve years in Medford. He was a member of the Douglas County convention in 1886 and 1882, and the Jackson County convention in 1886, 1890 and 1894, and of the state convention in 1894. In 1892 he received the nomination for Sheriff. In 1894 he was secretary of the McKinley Club, and a member and secretary of the county central committee.
Republican League Register, Portland, 1896, page 245

    GEORGE FRANCIS MERRIMAN. In tracing the source of the importance of Medford, mention is due George Francis Merriman, who, from obscurity and financial limitations, has risen to business, educational, and political prominence. Mr. Merriman's ladder of success has been made up of a useful blacksmith trade, fine personal honor, and exceptional executive and general ability, all of which may be acquired by persistent effort, a truth which furnishes vast encouragement to the industrious and ambitious. His family is one of the well-known ones of the state, for his parents, William H. and Artinecia (Riddle) Merriman, reared a family of fifteen children, five sons and ten daughters, of whom three sons and eight daughters respond to the roll call of residents of this prosperous state, and are established in homes of their own. Mr. Merriman is the second of these children, and was born in Douglas County, Ore., September 16, 1855, his father and grandfather, both named William H., being natives of the state of Illinois, born near Springfield. The younger William H. was a farmer, blacksmith and wagon-maker, and in 1852 crossed the plains to Oregon, locating near Riddle, Douglas County. In 1856 he removed to Jackson County and located two miles north of Medford, purchasing one hundred and twenty acres of land from Jesse Robinson, upon which he farmed until his death in 1877, at the age of fifty-two years. He was an active Republican, and in religion was a member of the Baptist Church. His wife's family is perpetuated in Oregon in the town of Riddle, and her brothers, J. B., George W. and Stilley Riddle, are honored residents of this vicinity. Mrs. Merriman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and in Illinois married John W. Chapman, who died in Illinois, after which his wife crossed the plains in the same train with her future husband, Mr. Merriman.
    George Francis Merriman's zeal in promoting the cause of education is quite remarkable, considering the difficulties which hedged in his own opportunities in this direction. From earliest youth his ears became accustomed to the sound of industry emanating from his father's busy blacksmith shop, and he was put to work at an age when most boys are considering ways and means by which to keep away from school. Not so this youth, however, for while his days were filled with serving an apprenticeship, begun in his fourteenth year, his evenings were spent in poring over books, and acquiring the knowledge denied him in the schools. After completing his three years of compulsory service he continued a year more with his employer, and in 1874 went to Eastern Oregon, and for two years worked in a blacksmith shop at Canyon City. For the following two years he ran a shop at Central Point, in the Rogue River Valley, and in 1878 was employed as blacksmith by the Oregon & California Stage Company. In 1880 he began a four-years' business in Oakland, and in 1884 located in Medford, where he has since continuously worked at his trade, with the exception of two and a half years. He does many kinds of wood work, wagon manufacturing and horse-shoeing, and so large is his trade that four men are required in the shop.
    Mr. Merriman's services as a staunch Republican official have been of a high order, and demonstrate his breadth of mind and knowledge of municipal affairs. While not seeking recognition himself he has earnestly helped his deserving friends, and by no means confined himself to any one party in offering help. He has been a member of the city council one term, and was nominated for county sheriff in 1892, escaping election by only one hundred and eighty-seven votes in a county claiming five hundred Democratic majority. He was appointed postmaster of Medford January 17, 1900, and still holds the office, which is of the third class. Mr. Merriman finds recreation and friends in various fraternal organizations, among them Medford Lodge No. 103, A.F.&A.M.; Oregon Chapter No. 4, R.A.M., of Jacksonville; Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; Ancient Order United Workmen; and Woodmen of the World. He is also identified with P. P. Prim Cabin Native Sons of Oregon, and Roseburg Lodge No. 326, B.P.O.E. In all possible ways he has forwarded the best interests of education, has been a member of the school board for many years, and is one of the promoters and directors of the Medford Business College, having succeeded in raising a large fund for its erection. Two miles east of Medford Mr. Merriman married Mary Murry, who was born in Illinois, and whose father, William Murry, emigrated from Scotland to Illinois, and from there to Oregon in 1874, locating on a farm near Medford. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Merriman, of whom William H. is deceased; Thomas is working in his father's shop; May is the assistant postmistress of Medford; George also is in his father's shop; and Blanch, Mollie, Vera, and Sherron C. are living at home.

Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904, pages 887-888

    Isaac Merriman, a native son of this county, died today on Bear Creek, where he and his sons, Lester and Chester, had gone to cut wood, and expired a short time after starting to cut down a tree. Mr. Merriman was born on the farm where he resided all his life. Born September 11, 1861, and was aged 61 years, 3 months, 7 days. He had been a member of Medford Lodge I.O.O.F. for 33 years and also a member of Medford Camp W.O.W. He leaves his wife, Emma, and four sons, Harry Merriman, Clark, Wyoming; Merritt Merriman, Gold Hill, Ore.; Chester and Lester of Medford, Ore. Funeral arrangements announced later. Remains are at the Perl Funeral Home.
"2 Well-Known Jackson Co. Men Called Suddenly,"
Medford Mail Tribune, December 19, 1922, page 6

    Not since 1910, when they shoed 50 horses a day, has there been so much activity at the Merriman blacksmith shop as there is now during a general enlargement of the quarters in order to take care of the increased business.
    All of the iron and steel stock will be placed in an annex located at the rear of the blacksmith shop on South Riverside, and the present location will be devoted to working space. Considerable of new equipment will be installed within the next 30 days, when the moving is expected to be finished.
    In 1852 the great-grandfather of Merl and Francis Merriman established the Merriman blacksmith shop on a tract of government land between Central Point and Medford. The shop was moved to Medford in [1885] under the management of George F. Merriman, whose son, T. F. Merriman, now operates the business with his two sons, Merl and Francis.
    Not a horse has darkened the entrance of the blacksmith shop since 1920. In 1917 an average of one horse a day was shod, and previous to that time more than 50 daily.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 9, 1930, page 8

Merriman Sons Reopening Shop
    The Merriman Shop, located on South Riverside, opened today under the management of Myrle and Francis Merriman. The two brothers have been running the business during the illness of the father, T. T. Merriman, the past four years. According to Myrle they have the most complete shop in this part of the state. He says they have the blacksmith, welding and factory spring department for making and repairing springs, as well as a full line of new springs.
    Mr. Merriman says: "We will endeavor to maintain competitive prices in all lines of our work."
Medford Mail Tribune, May 29, 1933, page 2

Last revised March 14, 2017